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Mike Reptile 02-07-2009 08:10 PM

First Lizard with kids
Hello, My daughter has just turned 7 and with her birthday money she would like a pet. Not one for goldfish she has her heart set on a lizard.
This will be my (her) first lizard and only other experience i have with reptiles was a garter snake and a royal. Few questions to ask regarding this and any help would be much appreciated.

1) im thinking of getting her a gecko. am i right in thinking these are easier to maintain and care for as a first lizard ??

2) does anyone know of a good Viv setup for beginners with geckos in mind ? (just to point out 1 gecko may turn into 2 shortly after)

again any help is much appreciated. Im in Atherton and we thinking of going over to viper and vine as it seems to be best rep shop around tomorrow.

lil05 02-07-2009 09:10 PM

hiya if your looking for a pretty hardy quite cheap and easy to look after lizard id say a leopard gecko is a good place to start
they dont require a huge set up and the only extra heat/ lighting they need is a heat mat on a stat which after bought doesnt cost again (unless they need replacing due to damage or breaking)

you can buy good starters for leos aswel but alwasy bear in mind some pet shops will sell over priced setups which some unnescary (sp) equipment so do your research 1st and maybe getting your own setup rather than a "shop put together" setup might save you money

if money and size isnt an issue then a bearded dragon would be the best bet. They are out during the day (as leos are nocturnal they might not be always seen) and are very inquisitive and very loveable so can interact more with your daughter

but as i said they will cost that little bit more for the setups and food costs as they do get quite a bit bigger than leos (youll have to research them though but i personally think your daughter will like the bearded dragons more)

both of these are good starter lizards (there are more and if these dont appeal and you want something more different then i recommend blue tongue skinks)

Mike Reptile 02-07-2009 10:31 PM

Thanks, TBH the 2 we narrowed it down to was a leo or a crested gecko or a bearded dragon. i think the ease of setting up for a gecko appealed more. But i wouldnt mind setting up for a bearded dragon.

so Geckos just need viv with a heat mat on a stat and do BD's need heat lamps or night lamps aswell as heat mat ??

Like i said im going to a store tomorrow hopefully to get some good advice but any info from here is welcome :2thumb:

Meko 02-07-2009 10:39 PM

i'd go for a beardie over a leo due to your daughters age.
The set up is more expensive and bigger but they're more active during the day. I've got 2 leos and they're both out for the first time tonight... at 10:40pm and that's early for them

Mike Reptile 02-07-2009 10:51 PM

Excellent thanks, I think that settles it. were going to get a BD.

done some research and watched a few youtube clips think im a bit wiser now so hopefully will setup a good viv and have my daughter a great pet. Any more advice on Vivs for BD's would be ace.

thanks again.

Meko 02-07-2009 10:58 PM

tips for beardie vivs... yep!

seeing as it's mainly for your daughter, get creative and get her involved before you buy the beardie. build it a fake rock wall out of polystyrene so it looks more interesting and also more places to climb and explore.
It'll also get your daughter more interested in the new pet well before you get it.

for the viv, go as big as you can get / afford with 8 square feet of floor space being the 'minimum'.. that's a 4x2 or bigger.. roughly about 2ft high too or higher, this gives a decent amount of climbing space. you can go lower but your light bulb will take about 6inches off the roof height at the basking spot.

For light / heat for a beardie you need: a heat source (preferably a spot bulb) that'll give around 110f at the basking spot and around 80f at the cool end (run it on a dimming thermostat and it'll stop the temperatures going too high). you'll also need a 10.0 or 12.0 UVB tube and starter as they need UVB.
you don't need night time heating or a heat mat.

Mike Reptile 03-07-2009 06:20 PM

Been to the shop today and seen a starter set which has everything in it i will need.
Going to use calcium sand rather than wood chippings which it comes with and add a few fake plants and logs.

The Viv is only 3ft x 1.5ft x 1.5ft and we are only getting a baby Beardie so will this viv be ok for a year or so until i will have cash to upgrade ??

sophs87 03-07-2009 07:52 PM

Calcium sand isnt the best it clumps up when wet, if you want to use sand use childrens play sand from argos, asda ect cheaper aswell, i think you have to sterilise it first by baking it in the oven.:2thumb:

Meko 03-07-2009 08:09 PM


1 - calci sand is bad, especially for babies. As said, it can clump when wet, cause impaction and a dead beardie.
2 - wood chip is crap, like with calci sand it can cause impactation if they swallow it.
Best going for tiles rather than a lose substrate

don't bother with the starter setup, quite often they put stuff in you don't need and don't put in stuff you do need. They're usually arse rapingly expensive too.

Don't get the kit from the shop, buy second hand if you need to or a viv from one of the viv builders on here.....
Exotic Reptile Housing - North East
Alfie99 - Southport, cracking people and cheap... their 4x2x2 vivs are only around £90 and perfect for a beardie.
Volly - merseyside
Jeff Pollit - Manchester
Loobylou - Essex
Lotus Nut - down South
Ratboy - Midlands

or you could build your own 4ft viv for under £50, it's easier to do than you imagine.

Meko 03-07-2009 08:14 PM

Forgot to add.. they grow quite fast so it won't be too long before you need to upgrade, when you do you'll need: a bigger viv, a bigger UVB tube and a starter to go with it as they're wattage rated.

The calci sand is also very expensive as well as dangerous, probably cost a few quid to do the viv.

And don't let them sell you a 'reptile' bulb, they don't exist... it's just a spot light that you can get for under a quid from Asda with a picture of a lizard on the box.

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